Thoughts on economics and liberty

The miserable economics education of Indian Administrative Service officials

A so-called economist who doesn’t understand economics can obviously never explain economics to the people.

We had professors of economics at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie in 1982-84, who failed to teach the most basic concepts about the market and the price system. That’s because they did not understand these ideas themselves.

When the Haileybury college began in the early 1800s, to teach the writers of the East India company, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was one of the key textbooks used. By the time socialist Nehru had gained power and corrupted the basic teaching of economics in India, the training of civil servants of India had deteriorated to the most deplorable levels, possible.

I was taught under these circumstances in 1982-1984, by gross incompetents.

Sadly even the academic courses in India in the 1980s were extremely poor. And so my Masters Degree in economics of 1986 from Panjab University did not help me, either.

It has been a very long journey to understand the basics of economics. I wish I had the knowledge I have today about economics, when I began my civil service career.

Fake economists are the bane of India. I can’t name anyone who understands economics sufficiently to inform good public policy including the design of governance.

Yes, Atindra Sen had come in by 1994 as a faculty member on the Academy. That was an excellent improvement, but I unfortunately the overall tenor of the Academy remained socialist. There was no way IAS officers were going to be educated in basic principles of the market.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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